Recommendations

All sorts of things inspire me-music, dance, drama, film, and visual.  And here are some of my favorites:

Music-

  • “To Everything There is a Season” (based on Ecclesiastes 3)–I particularly fond of this version by Ed Harris.  The arrangement is amazing; I sang it in college and still find myself humming it today.  There is another version based on the scripture, Turn Turn Turn, by the Byrds.  Either version conveys the true message of Ecclesiastes3 beautifully.
  • It is Well with My Soul” (1873)–This song comes from Horatio Spafford.  After learning his family was lost at sea, he penned these words.  The music was added in 1976 by Philip Bliss.  I invite you to listen to it from Spafford’s mindset; it gives the song a whole new meaning.
  • You Make Me So Very Happy” (1968) by Blood, Sweat, and Tears–I sing portions of this to my boys.  We replace Baby with each other’s name.  It’s lots of fun!
  • My Favorite Things” (1965) music by Robert Wise performed by Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music–I also sing this song to my boys.  My oldest likes “when the dog bites, when the bee stings” the best as I act them out as I sing.  Then we list our favorite things.  Try it!

Films-

  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) with Jimmy Stewart–A man’s struggle to overcome corruption
  • Sergeant York (1941) with Gary Cooper–A true story of a man’s journey through faith and war
  • The Quiet Man (1952) with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara0–One man’s search for integrity and love
  • Last of the Mohicans (1992) with Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe–Loosely based on Cooper’s book, the journey of a white man raised by the noble savage as those two worlds collide during the French and Indian War
  • Band of Brothers (2001) with Damien Lewis–A gripping mini-series following the courageous men of Easy Company through WWII
  • Search any film, actor, or director at the Internet Movie Database.

Literature-

The power of pen is great; and though I love to write, I also love to read.  I enjoy being transported to another world or understanding my own better.  Unfortunately the time to read as I wish is quite often lacking.  I try however to read once my children go to bed.

Words can evoke every emotion from us.  Here are some of the texts that I have read and my thoughts:

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is my favorite piece of fiction, of all time.  I read it every Christmas.  Austen’s use of English propriety and human nature fascinate me.  I admire Lizzy so much, her candor, her sense of integrity,  and one Christmas I read it and focused on her.  I realized that her bluntness only revealed itself when she was attacked.  That has been a great lesson  for me.  I challenge myself to hold my tongue unless I feed the need to defend my integrity.  And, who doesn’t a like a good romance!

  • A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving is brilliance in the use of symbolism.  I didn’t read this until I was teaching.  My classroom had a set and it was highly recommended.  It is a lengthy book (600 pages if I recall) and was quite an investment of time as my first son had just been born and I was teaching full-time.  Irving’s use of symbolism blew me away.  It is such a well-written book with twists and turns.  The great mystery of the novel is who the father of the narrator, John, is.  And the great peculiarity of the book is Owen, a small boy of great faith who knows his destiny, prepares for it, and embraces it. Owen’s faith is astounding and John uncovers his father’s identity and matures beyond it.  There are some unsavory scenes as it revolves around two boys at a boarding school, but well worth it to see everything come full circle.
  • The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper, popularized by the 1992 Michael Mann film in staring Daniel Day Lewis. Here is a review of the film and book.
  • A Room with a View by EM Forrester is the tale of Lucy, George, and Cecil. A nice little romantic novel set in Italy and England. Here’s my review.
  • Unbroken: A WWII Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand is the moving true story of Louis Zamperini. They are currently writing the screenplay. So I hope you get to read it before you see the film. Here’s my review.

Resources for Children’s Ministry

More to come…

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